Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Happy Birthday to me
To start with today, technically it's my birthday now (January 5th) so Happy Birthday to me. Now to truly begin, it occurred to me that the other day I praised Michael Lombardi for the greatly improved quality of his articles on NFL.com, but I never mentioned who I thought was the best, most consistent writer over the course of the year. That award would go to Jason Whitlock of FOXsports.com. Whitlock may not be every body's cup of tea so to speak, but personally I find his articles and attitude very engaging. I like the fact that he doesn't pull any punches and unlike many who write for the major networks, he has no problem blowing up the leagues official line on various subjects, especially when they're trying to curry favour with the fans. So if Whitlock is the best and Lombardi is the most improved, who might be an upcoming face to look out for next year? That would fall to Albert Breer, also of NFL.com. For an example of his work, check out this recent article. Next, coaching news. To go along with the firing's of Mike Singletary, Wade Phillips, Brad Childress & Josh McDaniels, as well as the end of John Fox's tenure in Carolina, we now have the release of Eric Mangini by Cleveland and most recently the surprise (at least to me) firing of Tom Cable by the Raiders. Next in line could be Coach Tony Sporano of the Dolphins, with multiple news outlets suggesting that the Dolphins are extending feelers towards Stanford Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. Apparently Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was present at the Orange Bowl to watch Stanford put down Virginia Tech. If Sporano goes that would make eight teams with new Head Coaches for 2011. What was that we've told for the last month or more by the networks about a lack of coaching changes being made due to CBA uncertainty? Busted. Marvin Lewis of the Bengals will be keeping his spot though, with a two year extension apparently signed. To be honest, the Singletary, Childress and Philips firings I could see coming, but I'm not sure about some of the others. Josh McDaniels had his difficulties but he was putting together quite the offense I thought. Certainly no worse than the Texans under Gary Kubiak, and with more promise for the future in their roster. John Fox leaving was practically a gimme, but Eric Mangini? I know I'm not a huge Mangini fan, which makes this all the more surprising, but I kind of got the impression that in his second year Mangini was just starting to get his head around this whole head coaching thing. His demeanour, the way he spoke in interviews, the changes made to the team. I was shocked that Mangini wasn't allowed to come back for another crack of the whip in 2011. And I never thought I'd say this but.... I think Mangini might be a hot candidate for making a Super Bowl in the 20-teens. There, I said it. But now we really get down to it with Tom Cable. Are you kidding me? Tom Cable?! The same Tom Cable who looked to be turning the corner with the Raiders (finally)? The same Tom Cable who was just starting to figure out where his team was at on offense? The Tom Cable who was getting Jacoby Ford more and more involved? The same Tom Cable who was fashioning a strong ground game around Darren McFadden and Michael Bush? I feel sorry for Tom and I hope he gets a good gig for 2011. He, like Mangini, appeared to have finally found his feet and style as a Head Coach, which is the first step towards big things. Cable could be another hot shot for a Super Bowl coach in the coming 20-teens.